Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Loop de Loop: Black and White

Hello blog, what is going on with you?

I've recently moved over to Melbourne to work on some kids show about a boy and his ass who hang out and have adventures. It's pretty goofy but it's good to work in a studio with some old friends oh and it pays the billz. Last years work was a little light so a long contract is what I need.

Anyway I made this for the loop de loop screening

I was finally able to attend a loop de loop since it's screens here in Melbourne. Oh and it actually won the best loop for the month which was nice. I also got to meet a whole bunch of rad animators which was fun.

I liked the theme of black and white. It brings up some new rule I made for myself and that is to never use straight black and white always use slightly off blacks and whites. The reason being that black and white are your 2 major colours that draw in your eye so by saving true black and white and using it only on specific things you have more control of your image focus. Also not using true blacks and whites and using off colours means the textures and lighting shows up nicer. You can also play with warm blacks and whites or cool blacks and whites and mix the 2 in the same image (eg skin is warm clothes are cold).

The other little trick I tried out on this short loop was the idea of using shapes to plan my inbetweens, secondary movement and keep a consistent volume.

Since the shapes are quite simple in Toonboom and flash with the onion skinning on you can see quite easy how everything is travelling through nice arcs and how your spacing is working.

The tradeoff is that you are adding another pass to your animation which would slow you down a bit. So I think I would only use this technique for specific shots rather than for an entire film.

You also got to watch that you don't lose the energy of your original drawings by being to mathematical like this. So you got to not blindly follow and trace the circles and make sure the lines you draw have power and guts to them.

Anyway that's the fun of loopdeloops. Trying out ideas and being pretty relaxed about it. I've actually got a whole folder of unfinished loops of ideas that got out of hand or that I ended up not feeling.

At the moment I'm storyboarding and planning a new video clip for a pretty awesome track and slowly working away at a Manly Show comic as well as occasionally taking turns updating that tumblr. I've also got another commercial job to do on the side soon as well. So that's what is up with me.

Stay cool blog, we'll talk again

Friday, February 08, 2013

Hey girl

So unfortunately I wasn't able to raise enough money for some short movies for the "Manly Show" but I've been kicking around some ideas an old one and a new one.

This is a character test for the new idea

and here's the step by step making of

Hopefully I can finish it in less than 5 years unlike my other film Porcelain. It will also have less psychic powers and tentacles and instead have emotions and feelings.

I'm liking using the extra lines for expressions but not 100% happy with my line work (which was always going to be rough). I might experiment with no outlines (although I feel that's a little played out now) or textured lines and either pushing a more stylised face or trying a few more realistic faces.

I really want to capture a 30+ older and more ordinary look as I want to tell a story about people in this age group. Drawing on my own experiences and friends.

It's still early days to be talking about the story I'm just trying to get a few of the characters together and then let them affect some of the scripts choices.

Well I'll talk about this and the other idea more when there's stuff to show.

As for the fate of the "Manly Show" well we won't be making the films but the tumblr is still a go.

I made an animated gif the other day that was pretty cool

Sunday, October 21, 2012

24hr comic day 2012

Another year another fantastic venue and turn out for the 24 hour comic challenge in Perth.

A twist on this years challenge we had to use the name of a song to inspire our comics. "I'm deranged" by David Bowie from the Lost Highway soundtrack was my ear worm for that morning

Deranged 24hr Comic Day 2012

What did you think? I was pretty happy with it. I enjoyed the freedom of not taking it too seriously and just having fun drawing. I even got one of the Manly Show super buff dudes in there. (I love that photo realistic picture of me doing the 24hr comic that Christien drew)

I drew this on glossy A5 paper (I guillotined and halved A4 sheets before the event) as I knew that paper likes ink pens. I wore my glove that I have for my cintiq as I knew my hand would be a bit grippy on the gloss paper. I loosely pencilled it with a H pencil. I found the faster and looser I drew the better to ink from. My pens were a small, a mid and a brush pen. I tried to use the different thicknesses to give the scene depth. I also had 2 different grey markers, a warm and a cool grey. I tried to use the different colours to separate the characters from the background. Occasionally I'd mix up the colours due to tiredness.

Working smaller I was able to produce more pages faster and starting from 10am I was able to have all my pages done by 3am the next day. This is the first time I've managed to finish with time to spare. I also felt I was able to keep the drawings pretty consistent  I may have stopped drawing detailed trees for awhile but the character work I was happy with the whole way through.

This character was based on a cultural statue I saw while I was over in Kuching last month. It had a cat that looks pretty much like how I've drawn him being attacked by a similar styled dog/dragon. I wasn't allowed to take photos in the museum but I drew these while I was over there.

This guy is super fun to draw and the 24 hour challenge gave me an opportunity to bring him to life. That's why these events are so much fun. They just force work out of you.

Well another 24 hour comic done. Super extreme thanks to Chris Maximum Markle for organizing it again.

The next thing coming up in a few weeks the 48hr animation challenge!!!! Man I must hate sleeping.

I also need to find a job at some point. My freelancing is only just keeping the wolf at bay. Such is my glorious life as an artist haha

Sorry for the lack of updates here but keep reading the Manly Show. Christien has been drawing up a storm there that keeps challenging me to draw men with the shortest shorts and the largest nipples... heh. Seriously check it. It's the best website in the world!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I watched Spiderman on Tuesday and just seeing him move and swing through the city inspired me to draw.

My first sketch I did while out at the Zoo

Second sketch done on my iPad

After a few scribbles I felt like doing a simple fun animation.

I really want to do more with Spiderman. I also just watched the latest Batman so maybe I'll do something with him.

Oh as for my last post on what happened with my oil painting, there was a lot of swearing and cursing as things stopped working out but I did complete the painting. I'll update that soon. Even though the painting is hanging on the wall I might touch up a few areas before it's finished finished.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Mr Gough in Winterland

This post will be about a painting I'm working on.

So far I have this scribble

So this above drawing was based on an earlier sketch that I unearthed while I've been moving house

I had been doing a few sketches in photoshop trying to plan out the image but nothing really felt that great. Like the Mr Gough world that exists in my head so it was great to come across this image.

Here are some of the earlier photoshop sketches. You'll notice the fishing monster was the one thing I was happy with.

The second one I was almost ok with. Having a Mr Gough floating in ice. I did like the tree zombies I created but I couldn't work them into the new image.

Oh I should give a little backstory. Mr Gough was a small little comic that was born in my sketch book. I really liked it and I ended up making an animated short with him. The short won quite a few awards so he's stayed a favourite character of mine. He usually makes cameos in my other films as well.

I added in the little orange monster from the short on top of the round trees. No Monkeybears though

So I tweaked and changed that original drawing in photoshop but it's going to become a painting so this is how I'm transferring the image onto the canvas.

After printing the image I attached one of the sides to the canvas turned the image over and covered the back with black charcoal

I then folded over the paper over the canvas

Then using a blunt pencil I traced over the lines

This hurts my hand as I have to draw without leaning on the page. When I finish (I haven't yet) tracing all the lines I can fold back the paper and see the image has been transferred. Here's what it looks like so far

I'll spray that with some fixative to hold the charcoal and then it will be time to begin the under painting (at least I think that's what I'm doing)

Ok so here's the finished transfer

Which is pretty close to the original drawing. The paper buckled a bit and moved some of the drawing around but nothing too drastic.

So now I'm beginning to tone the image. Because it's winter I'm using blue tone for my under paint. Actually I'm not sure if this is really "under painting" much like when a client asks if we could "storyboard" the idea when he really means brainstorm the idea or calling a corporate video a documentary (my favourite term misuse).

I'm trying to work really light and that means using more turps than oil paint. I noticed that some of the transfered areas aren't dark enough for me to see details (such as the tree behind the rock on the right) and I'll need to let the oils dry a bit and maybe pencil the lines a bit darker.

Will oils you have to build up the paint a bit otherwise you'll have the white of the canvas showing through and that looks crappy. This canvas I'm using is a bit iffy as well. Some areas were hard and it was repelling the paint a bit.

Anyway still a heap of stuff to do. I'm also trying to jump between this, some writing and some flash work. This tree I've been slowly working on for a week or so now (I get distracted too easily these days)

Here's the final painting. It took awhile to get teh colours I wanted and there's probably a few colour's I'd like to photoshop change haha but that's the fun of non digtal art. The rawness of it all

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lonely Wolf

If you haven't seen it yet this is my new film I was talking about yesterday. The guidelines of the film was that we had to incorporate this character...

and use a section out of a supplied music track by Pippin Kenworthy.

I was tempted to use the more abstract heavy part of the track at the start but I really loved the melancholy section in the middle. As I was working on the film listening to the track over and over I heard the whistles blowing at the end which made me think of the Chuck Jones sheepdog shorts. So that's why the ending is what it is. There's also 2 possible ways to read what the ending is which is something I quite like.

Anyway here are my early sketches and thumbnails

This was the first drawing of the wolf I did. I loved the simplicity of the drawing style. For some reason I ended up shrinking the head and making him more wolf like. I wish I kept those fangs. I think everything changed when I did that shot of him eating lamb chops.

These are my thumbnails of the film. I kept reasonably close to them except for the ending

In the ending the sheep dog and the wolf were going to be bros and the sheep dog just comes over bringing a coffee/tea and he just consoles the wolf. The deadline for the entry was getting really close and that whole handing over the coffee thing was going to be a bit tricky so I skipped that. Also because of how I framed the shot the hand on the back didn't look great so the sheep dogs hand went on the wolfs hand but then that looked like something else and since that made me laugh that's why the ending is what it is.

Something you may have missed is that the wolf goes to work and comes home with a bloody sheep in the back of the car. So with the ending there's 2 possible things, either what most people will see is the sheep dog is making a pass at the wolf or the other ending is that the sheep dog has finally caught the wolf who's been killing all the sheep.

So that's the skinny about my 'Lonely Wolf' short film. It ended up winning an award at the competition I entered it in. It picked up the prize for "outstanding animation" and won me a new wacom. Roseline also won an award for story I think although it might have been illustration and she won vouchers for art supplies. Since I have a cintiq and Rose needs to update her intous 2 we just switched our prizes. I'm going to buy me some more oil paints!!!

Well there's another film that should be on the mondo channel soon that I worked on called "Probed". I'm not sure when that is going to be online but I'll do another post when it is

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lonely Wolf Stills

Well I made a new film and it should be screening tonight as part of Animators Hour on the Northbridge Piazza Super Screen. I'll also be putting the film on my Youtube channel tomorrow morning.

It's a very short film as it was only meant to be 30seconds and it had to use the music provided but I crammed it with as much stuff as possible... maybe too much.

Anyway here are some stills

It felt like a return to the original sort of short films I used to make before I started earning money working on other peoples shows and other commercial jobs. Those were some fun times but not really something I can afford to do as much as I could when I was younger.

Technical stuff, the backgrounds were done in photoshop, the animation was done in toonboom and grading added in after effects. I tried to approach this with as little animation as possible and more focusing on the illustrations carrying the film. I tried to have a lot of foreground, midground, midback, farback, layout set ups as well as a slight camera hand held drift. Tell me if it works tomorrow

The Animators hour is here (see below) and it starts at 8:30pm - 9:30pm

I've heard there might even be something new from Roseline in it :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Liquid loop

Here's my loop submission for this months loopdeloop

I've been reading a bunch of X-men comics lately and I'm pretty sure you can tell by looking at this haha

It wasn't my initial idea for this theme. I just woke up one morning and just started pressing random buttons on Garageband ipad and came up with this goofy song loop. I then animated loosely based on/inspired by the music straight ahead in toonboom animate.

It turned out to be a fun experiment animating 2d effects. When I was animating the effects I tried to feel the effect more than to plan it out. I tried to force myself to draw big confident strokes and solid shapes and not over work the drawing.

The line I used for this was a square brush with pressure. I really love the feel of that line! It feels like paints or ink and it's great to work really bold and messy.

The character design I wanted to keep really pulpy with flat colours and black. I worked in shapes and details that would help define limbs as I knew there was going to be that rotation but also so you can see what's going on when she gets really small in the background.

You can head over here and give it some star ratings today and tomorrow... 350 star ratings so I can win hahaha

You definitely should head to the website though and check out the loops this month there's been over 50 submissions and lots and lots of really great ones.

I really would have loved to go to the screening for this one. Curse my no where near Melbourneness!!!

Oh I should also say I finished another film for a competition on Saturday. I can't wait to show that one it's pretty fun!

Monday, March 12, 2012

New background work

I've been doing a bunch of backgrounds in photoshop lately here's some from an unreleased film that was finished last week.

This is a working progress for a short animation (keeping this secret just in case I don't finish it)

That floor texture I made for my film Porcelain that I'm constantly adjusting and recolouring to reuse every time there's a wooden floor. I also have some glass textures I made for windows from Porcelain that I also reuse heavily.

This WIP background is for an animation pitch I'm working on set in my hometown forests

I'll try to update this background every day until I finish it. I thought it was good to show at this stage as you can see my layout lines and layer breakdowns (different colours represent different layers). This was something of a style experiment I might simplify everything once I do a detailed study. The layout is pretty boring but when I put the two characters in and fire up the depth of field effects it should look ok.

Oh here's an old background I did for Roseline's loop de loop that has been sitting in my draft posts for forever.

UPDATE 13th of March

So I sketched out the main midground section which the characters interact with

after doing the sketch it was like "...ok now how the heck am I supposed to colour that???"

This is what I have done so far and I'll continue it tomorrow. I guess it will have a slight water colour feel to it. I'm not sure. Today I like it and think it will work

UPDATE 14th of March

Ok this is pretty much done and I'm not completely happy with it but for a first style test it will do

There's things about the colouring I really like. Such as the little red and yellow scattered leaves I think offset the pallet just enough so it isn't boring. The balancing of detail and space are ok but not really that imaginative. I think the default way I draw is looking slightly down so for my next tests I really should play with my camera angles a bit. I also want to push things and also simplify and simplify! This was a test where I'm just getting a feel for the environment but now its time to look at it with my producers hat on and see how to approach this better.

I might do an update tomorrow where I'll add in the characters

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rob Twizz - Milfs ft. Bizarre of D12 (making of)

Well here's the videoclip I've been working on for the last couple of months that I made for Rob Twizz

So a little bit about the production and I'll begin with the technical aspects. I storyboarded the clip in Toonboom Storyboard pro, did the backgrounds in photoshop, animated it in Toonboom Animate pro and graded it in After Effects.

Now when I say "storyboarded" I really animated it as you can see

This probably wasn't that bright as it pretty much doubled the amount of work I had to do.  I originally thought that the art I exported from Storyboard would import into Animate as vectors and that it would have layers but it turns out that it was the next version of 'Storyboard' that did that and that version was an extra $400+ LE SIGH!!

I think this is the problem of approaching a board as an animator and just working straight ahead in the timeline view where I could see the entire song. It's not a bad way of working for a music clip but I could have done things simpler and just had A and B poses and not spent time doing things like lipsync.

I did thumb out my shots (in an only Tim can understand these scribbles sort of way) but I've always wanted to do that professional wall of postit notes. Postit note walls look so pretty

(This is the Bizarre take off and flipmo scene to the child care)

I should also say this was my first time using Storyboard and it's a pretty great program. It's as straight forward as you can get. It does help though at the start to customise the shortcuts to what you want or what you're used to.

Planning what was going to happen in the clip though was tough mostly because I was struggling with ... I guess a moral balance. I wanted to take this clip on because it was super pulpy and that would give me a lot more freedom with the animation but at the same point I want my partner and my female friends to also enjoy it. A favourite director, Hiroyuki Imaishi, once wrote that there is nothing worse than only going halfway and that he'd rather go too far than to only go halfway with his work. So that is a quote that I always have in the back of my mind, I didn't want to pussy out but I did want that female audience so I had to make up some ground rules.

1. The women must never look like they are in situations against their will and in most cases initiating the situation
2. The design of the women must look unique and have a little thought into who they are. They must look like real characters not something from DC comics

There were some other rules but there's a few contradictions that I made haha. Oh another thing is there is no female nudity there's actually some male nudity. A couple of penis and ass shots but no one has spotted that haha. Oh one of the random comments I got on my art facebook page was from a wonderful girl who wrote 

"Glad i found you, Love your art work on the Milfs video ^_^ to awesome had to find you and show support" 

That to me felt like I achieved my goal. That I had hit my mark. I should point out however after the video was released there were 2 almost instantaneous dislikes on youtube, no bad comments but those 2 dislikes made me feel like I dropped the ball. So it was great to receive that comment a few days later. 

Anyway I've jumped a little ahead here but I should mention the design of everything. The design did happen as I was storyboarding so my post is still sort of in order. 

The sketch of R Twizz, the milf and the kid is what gave me a direction with how I was going to approach the whole clip. I thought it was pretty wrong and hilarious.

When I finished my film Porcelain someone challenged me that it was a little too 'fanime' that they'd be more interested in seeing what my own style was. So I started trying to draw every day and try and find and develop what I was comfortable with... I still am not really sure what my style is and to be honest all I think I ended up doing was adding on more influences (Robert Valley, Scott C, Kate Beaton and the most influential Yasuo Otsuka Lupin designs) onto my drawing style. I am developing something I think though.

This is the first film I made to test my new drawing style

This was done a while before I was even offered the videoclip job but I did like the drawing and animation style. Mixing solid strong poses with rubber hose animation, modulating frame rates and photoshop painted backgrounds. I've been developing and pushing this style a bit though the loopdeloop competitions but it was time to give it a serious go and this videoclip was my chance to try it professionally.

With the background art I wanted to be a bit more expressionistic and the first few shots that I did had very little detail and just painted mess but somewhere along the line I fell back into my usual style of lots of little details. That cost me so much time and effort. I'm happy with the results but it really did add 4 extra weeks onto my production.  So need to streamline my background work and not get so worn out by it.

This background that I made a night and day version for was my attempt at doing those old cartoon network style backgrounds. I'm actually a bit over this sort of stuff haha so I'm not sure why I wanted to do it. It was just what I pictured in my brain when I was thinking of a suburban neighbourhood with a lot of desperate house wives.

This background looks a little plain without the mothers and Bizarre in it but I tried a trick on this one that worked pretty well. I duplicated the top half of the childcare and then flipped it and overlayed and blended it on the ground as a slight reflection. It is a simple trick but it's a good one

I posted this before but this was the first colour test for everything. The R-Twizz colours where based on a photo he sent and I just eye dropped the image. They were a little quirky with shades of pink, blue and purple. Cool sort of colours. Because of that I tried to base all my colour choices on a cool pallet.

I recommend when trying out colours to work really rough and try out all stupid ideas. Do have a goal but don't be too literal. Don't think apple red, tree brown, leaves green but think of the mood/feeling you are trying to create and know that your animation is going to go on top of it so you want everything working together not a whole bunch of individual items.

(there's a little detail of the spiked drink in this that I'm not sure if anyone saw)

This image I think is my most complex and I had to grade it in After Effects to simple and blur out areas and blend the colours a bit more. There's some cool leading shapes/lines in that pic like how the pictures are staggered. It leads your eye to where I want it to be. Once again tricks like these are needed due to the nature of how quick these shots move also it's pretty pleasing on the eye

Now due to balancing other work, the time I spent on the backgrounds and animating in Storyboard pro instead of Animate and really needing to get this clip done (I kept having to push back when it would be done by) I had to reluctantly call in some help to trace, clean up and colour. Luckily I have some talented people to work with who even more luckily for me were free.

Roseline Lau my wonderful partner took on the first scene and the cookies scene she also helped me bounce ideas back and forth and it was good to have her knee jerk response to some of the ideas.

Dean Swanton who me and him go way back (to the first cartoons I ever produced) took on a whole bunch of scenes because he's awesome and super crazy fast. Mostly he did all the scenes of Bizarre but he also did that shot of the milf with the cake mix.

Christien Clegg another friend who's worked with me on a few short animations before had some horrible scenes of a certain American political lady that he had to redraw and ended up adding even more impact (haha) to the animation. He also did the appearing in the church shot where R-Twizz's face turns into a certain wedding crasher celebrity. It was great to have his drawings in this as I love his style.

Finally my last friend who helped me out was Jamie Anderson who took on the chatting up the donkey to ridding the donkey like a crazy person scenes. We worked next to each other on a tv animation (pixel pinkie) where we used to draw on our notepads coming up with a whole bunch of extreme and different expressions so I thought he'd be best at taking on the drunk face (that pic above). Jamies line work was probably the best out of all of us due to his many years producing his webcomic...and I made it all wavy in after effects so you can't tell (TAKE THAT JAMIE HAHAHA ...I'm really sorry). Oh and check out the crowd drawing he did for the donkey riding scene

It was great working with these guys and even though it was mostly clean up they did bring their own style to clip and that makes me super happy. I hate working on productions where they try to stamp that out. I'd rather anything I produce to show the individual artists handwork.

With the animation (I know I'm all over the place here) I really tried to push the drawings to make the pose sell 90% of the animation. To jam it full of character and to not be bland. I still feel due to working commercially (having to scale back a lot of my stuff) and not putting enough time into developing my drawing skills my drawings are still a bit too conservative and held back. I still have so much more room to push the drawings more than I have.

I've always wanted my drawing/animation style to reach the level of Chuck Jones/Ken Harris stuff. Strong amazing poses with absolutely perfect expressions. From my studies of their works it really comes down to the importance of your line. Every line must convey the weight and strength of the pose and like the backgrounds it must be part of the pose not an individual useless line. Well that's the theory.

This sequence of the run take off I think was the closest to what I was trying to achieve. I'm pretty sure this was inspired by the dumb sonic running meme that was happening at the time.

 (I flared the little red dot on his shoes and used the smoke to show the speed and direction)

 (I turned the flare into the sonic/road runner sideways 8) 

(Antic pull back to explode forward. Finding that timing sweet spot for this is always the hardest.)

The video did ok on R-Twizz's channel nearly 5,000 views and I got a couple of views on my youtube just over 2,000 (I made $4 off the adds haha profit) and there's a new clip for me to do so I'll be posting about that one in a month. (In case you were wondering, I'm currently producing an animated short about aliens that break in and probe a guy for fun).

All in all I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I've had some nice feedback on this and my friends who worked on it actually enjoyed working in this style (or at least said they did haha). I do hope I can find a way to leave the horrible unfun world of nested symbol flash animation and make traditional fun hand drawn cartoons that embrace the fact that they are hand drawn.

I also should look at reference when drawing a donkey. Haha that thing is crazy